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Neil Young, an uncritical celebrity activist

Neil Young speaksToday, the Toronto Star opinions about Neil and his recent activities in Canada, giving a summary about his longrunning political attitude and actions as a musician and artist.

As The Passenger says: The music we march to didn’t just show up on the radar last year sometime. They all know that. Consolidate your feces dark siders, Neil Young has proudly represented workers for decades. [1]

Referring to a recent poll in the Calgary Herald “Most Albertans object to Young’s remarks” it is written:

Today Young is outraged again, only this time it’s with his home country. He hates the oilsands. He thinks it’s the world’s greatest environmental disaster and he believes the health of First Nations peoples, who live near the projects, is threatened.

On a recent visit to northern Alberta, Young gave voice to these opinions. The oil industry and their supplicants summarily dismissed his views. The aging rock star was said to have his facts wrong (even though we lack a widely accepted set of facts about the environmental and health effects of the oilsands). He was characterized as just another in a long list of celebrity activists who uncritically accept the views of those opposed to the oilsands.

Oh yeah, musicians should just shut up and play. For the cool and calm summary of Neil’s reply to these critizisms, Neil replied wonderfully in his “Calgary Adress“. Like music is a place devoid of emotion or discussion or revolution.

A lot of the polled people disagree with Neil’s points of views about the Oil Sands, the climate change, the environmental destruction and the “greed” Canada sells out to the Big Oil players. However, a majority is very concerned and believe the oilsands are damaging the Alberta province’s ecosystems.

“No matter how you feel, there’s a discussion going on around the breakfast table. That’s real, that’s big, that’s Canada,” Young said.

The T-Star concludes:

Big oil has spent tens of millions of dollars in advertisements and public relations gimmicks to convince Canadians and Americans of the unambiguous merits of the oilsands. This has been done in part to pressure the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline project. Whatever positive effect this expensive PR effort has yielded, Neil Young could wipe out in an afternoon of inspired song writing.

The message to Big Oil should be clear. When an angry Neil Young shows up on your doorstep, don’t dismiss him the way you do all your other critics. Give him the respect he deserves and consider his views carefully, lest he train his formidable lyrical and melodic arsenal on you.

Read more :: The Toronto Star, Feb 9, 2014 “Message to the oilpatch: beware Neil Young”.

___

[1] Two Shout Outs, 01.28.14, From The Passenger. A summary can be found *here*. The Passenger is of LincVolt Chronicle fame.

***

Was it worth the 15 minutes of fame?

imagesAn insightful blog posting by Angelina Pratt –  a beneficiary of Neil Young’s 2014 Canadian tour and member of the First Nation Athabasca Chipewyan.

She has mixed feelings about everything that happened with Neil and the tribe and publicity and treaties and the anti-oil message. She expresses herself in a way that brings new perspective.

She writes: “The title of the benefit concert series was ‘Honouring the Treaties,’ although the organizers ought to have titled it ‘Canada’s Hiroshima’ because our Treaty was not the main focus. There was no real conversation on the Treaty, certainly not in any meaningful way, because the emphasis was placed on what Neil was saying.”

“However, Neil didn’t seem to know enough about the Treaty to speak on this subject, so he talked about what he knew, and his message was overwhelmingly anti-oil and anti-industry. Even our Chief deferred to Neil.  Like the large wooden Indian that occupied Neil’s stage, our Chief, who was on stage for all of the pre-concert press conferences was virtually silent. It appeared to those of us on the sideline that it continues to be acceptable to allow well intended non-natives speak for a Chief, even in the 21st century.”

 “Neil pulled no punches at his first press conference at Massey Hall, in Toronto, Ontario, where he repeated his earlier analogy of Fort McMurray’s oil sands industry to that of Hiroshima. The intent was to be provocative and controversial, and it was that and more. “
“I am of very mixed feelings about the tour. On one hand, I am very proud that our Chief was able to gain the attention of and partner with a high profile celebrity to draw attention to our plight and to raise much-needed funds for litigation.  In my immediate family, Neil Young has always been held in high esteem for his musicianship and songwriting.  Last Christmas, long before Neil became involved with our First Nation, I bought Hubby a very expensive set of Blu-ray discs that are the first instalment of Neil’s Archives as well as Neil’s book Waging Heavy Peace.”

“On the other hand, I also feel cheated and duped. I feel that the response to Neil’s celebrity and his flamboyant rhetoric overrode our First Nation’s interests and the balanced message our Chief started out expressing. Clearly, the entire tour was on his terms, or at least the media coverage of the tour gave that strong impression. One of the organizers admitted as much, that it was Neil who decided who was on stage with them when an appeal was made to include Dene elders at the press conference.  When I recommended that the message be clarified and moved to a more balanced one, away from the virulent anti-oil and anti-industry position, I was told that Neil’s publicists and the inner group didn’t want to appear they were backing down.  At that point, it became clear that the tour ostensibly about Treaties, was really about anti-oil at all costs.”

The blogger states  her intent is to stay true to her core being.

“What this means to me is to stand in integrity,” she said.

Read the entire blog post at:

http://thedestinywithin.blogspot.ca/2014/01/was-it-worth-15-minutes-of-fame.html?m=1

 

 

Calgary, Jack Singer Concert Hall

Calgary_20140119_205811

REVIEW: Neil Young mesmerizes with once-in-a lifetime show

By Mike Bell, Calgary Herald January 20, 2014

It was somewhat fortuitous timing.

Earlier Sunday morning, one of the Canadian stations carried locally was playing The Simpsons Movie, a film that is, at its very core, under the guise of road trips to Alaska, subplots about the need for family, second chances and redemption, and hidden beneath spider songs about pigs named Plopper, an environmental film.

They make the statement from the outset about the direction they’re headed and the route they’ll travel when a cartoon version of punk band Green Day (redundant, possibly) is shown performing the show’s theme on a barge/stage floating on a lake in front of the enthusiastic citizens of Springfield.

“We’ve been playing for three and a half hours,” says the animated version of frontman Billie Joe Armstrong. “Now we’d like just a minute of your time to say something about the environment.”

The band are, of course, booed and bottled and met with angry calls to just shut up and sing.
Which brings us to Neil Young’s sold-out show Sunday night at the Jack Singer Concert Hall.

It follows a complete, sometimes divisive week of interviews, press conferences, pro and con op-eds, attacks, counterattacks and rhetoric as Young and his Honor the Treaties benefit tour made their way across the country to raise money and awareness for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Legal Defense Fund as they get set to battle oilsands development in northern Alberta.

After a somewhat feisty press conference earlier in the day, in the petroleum-stoked belly of the beast, the evening concert, the final one of the jaunt, was, for the most part, the opportunity for the legendary artist to shut up and sing. And us to shut up and listen.

Or, to quote lines from the opening song from his performance, From Hank to Hendrix, “Here I am with this old guitar, doin’ what I do.” What he does best.

And, oh, how magically he did it for those lucky enough to find themselves among the few to make their way into the intimate, once-in-a-lifetime, solo acoustic gig.

Young was in remarkable form, in exquisite voice, in a warm, comfortable and giving mood as he sat on the Singer stage, amid a handful of guitars, pianos and other well-worn instruments, plucking from the collection, talking to them, telling some of their stories and histories, and picking tunes from his timeless, well-worn catalogue that still has all of its power intact. In fact, perhaps even more so thanks to the passage of time and effects they’ve had on the man from whence they’ve come.

For proof, all you had to hear were the opening words of Helpless or the dreamy chorus of Only Love Can Break Your Heart — both sending shivers, walking the line between beaten and beatific, haunted and heavenly, sad and sanguine.

The rest of the evening, the bottomless offering of classics saw Young walking those lines with a skill and ease which were disarming and frankly awe-inspiring.

Be it at a piano for Love In Mind, on both banjo and harmonica for Mellow My Mind, playing a pump organ for a dirty and steamy Mr. Soul or the tour-appropriate Pocahontas (which he gave an appropriate lyrical reworking), seated front and centre for Harvest, an unforgettable version of Old Man, the stark and devastating Ohio and a howling take on Southern Man, or standing for the area appropriate cover of Ian Tyson’s Four Strong Winds, it was as if he was crafting the songs for the very first time, in the moment, on this night, in this building, and in our presence.
And if you didn’t feel that, you weren’t listening.

Perhaps the only criticism of the evening could be that while Young kept his part of the bargain, there were some in the audience who had a hard time doing the same. He, for the most part, shut up and played — and when he spoke, did so about the music and his past without agenda — but there were a handful of idiots who refused to keep quiet and listen, yelling out inanities at inopportune moments, hooting and whooping, and at times killing the mood that he had so skilfully set.

But still, that’s on them, not on him. Young had done his talking and was willing to let his music say so, so much more on this night.

And when all was said and done, it was one of the best shows this city has been blessed with in recent memory.

Of this, there can be no sides, no arguments, no debates.

As for opener, Canadian contemporary jazz chanteuse Diana Krall, she, too, was aware of why she and us were gathered together, also acknowledging it during a brief introduction to Let It Rain halfway through her almost hour-long, solo set.

“This song’s all about love,” she said, sitting at one of Young’s keyboards. “So I’ll just shut up and sing.”

She did, again, with a sense of familiarity and looseness that were infused her few originals and many covers — Bob Dylan’s Simple Twist of Fate, Cole Porter’s Don’t Fence Me In, Joni Mitchell’s Black Crow, a couple of Tom Waits’s tunes including Take It With Me, and a gorgeous version of The Band’s Ophelia — and made the night something special.

Or that much more special.

http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/music/REVIEW+Young+mesmerizes+with+once+lifetime+show/9406312/story.html

Twitter Hijacks #NeilYoungLies With Hilarious Results

n-NEIL-YOUNG-large570The backlash to Neil Young’s anti-oilsands crusade now has a slogan Neil Young Lies, a website and a twitter feed which savages the singer’s environmental activism, according to Huffington Post.

@NeilYoungLies launched yesterday with this tweet:

NEW SITE exposing @NeilYoungLies in his campaign of abusing celebrity status to wage a campaign of deceit & propaganda against #cdn oilsands.

But their #NeilYoungLies hashtag was quickly, and hilariously, hijacked by snarky Twitter users.

Check out the hilarious tweets at  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/01/21/neil-young-oilsands-twitter-neilyounglies_n_4637955.html.

Here’s a few:

“The Cinnamon Girl was actually nutmeg.”

“Cortez was aquitted of all charges.”

“Flying Mother Nature’s silver seed to a new home in the sun. Impossible. No one can live in the sun.”

“Rust sometimes sleeps.”

“You don’t resemble a hurricane in any way.”

“No! Not everybody knows this is nowhere!”

“‘Down by the river, I shot my baby dead.'” Neil Young has NEVER been found guilty of murder. Who is he covering for?”

—-

The NeilYoungLies.CA initiator:

NeilYoungLies-admin

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“Science is the roadmap, Science cannot be ignored as inconvenient.”

Neil’s extended speech before  Jan. 12, 2014 Massey Hall concert

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Random Quote

The only way to protect the people of Fort Mac is to Honour The Treaties. Stop this wanton devastation.
by -- The Passenger

Neil Young on Tour

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